Shame on Old Spice
For the record, we were pulling for San Diego and Green Bay. #mixedresults
But of course watching football games means watching the commercials that attend the broadcast. And, unfortunately, this too often means enduring gender bias and sexism. I’ve made this observation before (here and here), but this time, the Tertullian Award for Inappropriateness in Commercial Advertising goes to (drumroll please):
And specifically to its “Momsong” commercial, part of its “Spray Goodbye to Boyhood” campaign.
If you dare, the commercial is here.
When this ad came on, my first response was to head out to the living room, where our 11-year old son was watching the game on a different TV. As has become our practice when he and I debrief these kinds of things, I asked him this question:
“Josh, what do you think that commercial trying to tell you?”
He thinks then says, “What it means to be a man.”
I reply, “And what does Old Spice say is involved in being a man?”
Pause. Uncomfortable look. “Ummm. Kissing girls?”
Or, more to the point, according to the commercial, “when our sons have fun with women and misbehave.”
Needless to say, we won’t be buying Old Spice any time soon. Heck, maybe we need to avoid any of the 50 or so Proctor & Gamble brands.
Because here’s the thing:
There’s more to being a man than chasing (or having fun with) women.
Say it again. There’s more to being a man than chasing women.
Reducing “manhood” down to merely the carnal instinct to chase women, especially with the connotation of inappropriateness, doesn’t serve anyone, male or female. Not only does it neglect every other aspect of what it means to be a man, it also perpetuates the man as hunter/woman as quarry narrative, one that too easily and often becomes toxic.
It’s the last thing I want my son to see!
Yesterday, I tweeted at Proctor & Gamble and Old Spice three times to no avail. I’ll keep trying. When the game was over, I breathed a sign of relief, glad that we wouldn’t have to worry about that commercial any longer, and then it dawned on me.
There are more games next week.